Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo week kicks off today41st year of Mitchell event includes rodeos, parade, chili cook-off.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
Hold on to your britches — the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo is rolling back into Mitchell this week.
A variety of entertainers and great rodeo action are in store for the event’s 41st year.
Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo committee chairman Jim Miskimins said around 400 cowboys and cowgirls have entered to be part of this year’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association performances, which begin at 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at Horseman’s Sports Arena on the northern edge of the city.
“We have participants coming in from all around the county to participate in this year’s event so it should be very exciting,” Miskimins said.
Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo committee member Dave Sietsema said, “I think it is one of the best forms of family entertainment that is available out there.”
“Not only does it honor the heritage of cowboys and cowgirls of old, but it is an athletic competition,” he added.
Besides rodeo action, this year’s entertainment lineup features the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls. The group puts on a trick-riding and trick-roping spectacular. Sietsema said the group is “as good of group going as there is in professional rodeo.”
Fans may remember the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls, as they performed during the rodeo week in 2008.
Providing some comedic relief this year is rodeo clown Dennis Halstead.
Halstead has been a rodeo clown for 13 years and has twice been named PRCA Canada’s Entertainer of the Year.
Halstead worked at the 2008 and 2009 Corn Palace Stampede Rodeos, and the committee brought him back for another year.
Sietsema called Halstead a top-notch rodeo clown because of his off-the-cuff style of comedy.
“If we have a horse that doesn’t want to come out of the shoot, he is just always there making the crowd laugh and always has a lot of energy out there,” Sietsema said.
According to Miskimins, what makes Halstead different from other clowns is the variety.
“He will do two shows for every performance, and I can bet none of them will be the same,” Miskimins said.
Sietsema said when he attends the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, many entertainers approach Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo committee members because they want to come back to Mitchell.
“I think they realize it is not just business as usual here,” Sietsema said. “They get to go out in the community and read to kids and just be great ambassadors of rodeo.”
Rodeo-goers will also be able to hear a familiar voice when they attend this year’s event, as David Kimm returns as announcer.
Kimm, a Lakeville, Minn., native, announces around 100 rodeo performances each year throughout the country.
“Dave knows the cowboys and livestock so much better than us, so he can really educate the crowd,” Miskimins said.
The week’s events start today with the Midcontinent Rodeo Golf Classic at noon at Lakeview Golf Course, followed by the Rodeo Mixer at 5:30 p.m. at the Highland Conference Center and NBRA barrel racing at 7 p.m. at Horseman’s Sports Arena.
Wednesday, jackpot team roping starts at 7 p.m. at the arena.
Thursday kicks of the first night of rodeo performances at 8 p.m., with performances running at the same time each night through Sunday.
Saturday features the parade at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Mitchell, with the theme of “Come to the Cowboy Carnival.”
Sunday will feature a cowboy church service at 10 a.m. at the rodeo grounds, followed by a chili cook-off and County Music Showdown at 12:30 p.m.
Mutton busting and kids’ candy tosses will be held nightly during the rodeo performances.